After all the excitement of the regular season, you would think that the NBA can’t get much more exciting, but you’d be wrong.
The NBA playoffs is one of the most exciting times of the year. The intensity of each team increases exponentially because of the win-or-go-home mentality. We go from four-game sweeps to nail-biting seven-game wars. This year, the 16 teams that have made it to the playoffs are the Bulls, Celtics, Pacers, Cavaliers, Warriors, Rockets, Thunder, Jazz, Spurs, Grizzlies, Trailblazers, Bucks, Hawks, Raptors, Clippers, and the Wizards. These are all very talented teams, but only one can win it all and become the NBA champion.
First, in the Eastern Conference, there is really only one contender to make it to the championship and that is the Cleveland Cavaliers. Led by superstar LeBron James who, according to ESPN, just last year in the postseason, averaged 54 percent in field goals made, nine assists per game, and 32.8 points per game.
Cleveland won last year’s championship with a historic comeback. They were down 3-1 to the Golden State Warriors and came back to win three straight games. According to the NBA, this has only been done nine times in its history and had never happened before in the finals.
So, on top of having LeBron James, the Cavaliers have experience. Everyone on that team has been to the playoffs at least once. When looking at the rest of the teams in the East, the Bucks are a young team led by an even younger Giannis Antetokounmpo. Boston, the No. 1 seed in the East, is a possible contender, but the Celtics are young and very undersized compared to the Cavs, so this conference eventually will fall to the Cavs.
In the Western Conference, there are a few more teams that could potentially make it to the finals. First, the Golden State Warriors who lost in the finals last year after a record-breaking regular season. They have great offensive talent like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, and they have a defensive master in Draymond Green.
Meanwhile, the Houston, Rockets have MVP candidate James Harden, who is one of the best offensive players in the league. They also have Eric Gordon who, though not as lethal on offense as James Harden, can still pull his weight.
Last but definitely not least, the San Antonio Spurs have a real chance at making it to the finals. With an outstanding coach, Greg Popovich, who has been Coach of the Year in 2014, 2012 and 2003. The Spurs also have one of the best two-way players in the league, Kawhi Leonard.
Although the West has all this talent, no one can really match the experience of LeBron and his crew. LeBron turns into a superhuman during the playoffs and his play is hard to match and even harder to contain defensively.
The Cavs already have proven they can win. It’ll be an exciting playoffs this year and it’ll be interesting to see what the Cleveland Cavaliers can do.